After much anticipation, the Operations & IT Club hosted our first-ever game night. The game was organically developed by the club for the purpose of helping members better understand supply chains. The great thing about the game was that it was also a lot of fun!
The night started out pretty relaxed with pizza, drinks, and good conversation. After dinner the game was explained and positions were assigned. The game consisted of four basic positions:
1) Engineering Firms
2) Retail Stores
4) Raw Material Supplier and Transporter
Firms started out with $8,000. At the beginning of each turn, firms were allowed to flip three cards from a complete deck and choose projects based on the card suite and value.
In order to complete the projects, the firms had to buy the amount of computers that corresponded to the card value. Retailers started with $25,000. Retailers could order computers according to estimated or actual demand and sell at market rates. Finally, manufacturers received orders from the retailers and fulfilled them by ordering materials (in this case LEGO blocks) from the raw material supplier. After assembling the LEGO-computers, the manufacturers could pass them along to the retailer at a pre-determined price. There was also a banker, who was in charge of the global monetary supply (in this game we used monopoly money to create a "real-life" feel).
Twenty-five people played the game from start to finish. From the perspective of an observer (I sat out), the game was all out madness at times, with activity peaking at the beginning and middle of turns as firms tried to bargain with retailers for scarce supplies.
Though we had played the game before in a test run, there were some developments that caught us by surprise. The most notable was when one of the manufacturers bought all of the raw materials creating a supply shock to the global LEGO-computer market, and positioning themselves as the sole manufacturer. By the final round, arms were flailing and people were yelling across the room as they fought for the last remnants of computers in a last ditch effort to win the game. All the while, the winning team sat back and observed with calm confidence – they had locked in the win early on with the lucky draw of a joker in the first round.
Thanks to everyone who participated in this premier event. We look forward to next year's experience as a new tradition in the Operations & IT Club grows and develops.